The Spark

I’m reading a book about Albert Einstein, a fantastic bio written by Walter Isaacson. One of the things that strikes me about the man, beyond his brilliance, is the spirit of his times. In the early 1900s scientists were treated like rock stars. They were the celebrities. When Einstein visited New York in 1919, crowds greeted him and lined the streets cheering wildly, while photographers and reporters swarmed his hotel. Everywhere he went people wanted his autograph, or his picture, or to hear him say something pithy.

Such a scene is unimaginable today. Let’s face it. Most of us wouldn’t recognize a Nobel Laureate or an Einstein if we passed him or her on the street. Instead we pander to and prop up those who are physically beautiful, wealthy, or star in their own reality TV shows. We know more about the cast of Desperate Housewives and Jersey Shore than of Marie Curie or Martin Luther King.

Our value system has shifted from the intellect to the sometimes, well, idiotic. From appreciating people and qualities of substance to those that are more surface, fleeting and ephemeral.

Which brings us back to Einstein. His Theory of Relativity doesn’t just apply to physics; it applies to psychology and our value system too! Our values seem to be relative to the time and place we live in. They are not absolute.

One thing does remain constant however (call it the ‘cosmic constant’), and that is our human proclivity to worship that which lies outside of us rather then that which lies within. We worship someone else’s mind, body, beauty, status, or persona. The Biblical story of the golden calf is an apt metaphor. You know, the story where Moses comes down from Mt. Sinai clutching the Ten Commandments only to find the Hebrew slaves worshiping a Golden calf. We today are no different. We still worship idols – it’s only the outward form that has changed.

Think about the Oscars and its coveted golden statuettes, or shows like American Idol that manufacture idols like it’s the flavour of the month, or our obsessive celebrity culture. We love creating and venerating idols. Why? Maybe it’s because we project onto other people attributes we feel lacking in ourselves. We project that which we neglect, internally.

How we can compensate for this lack?

The first step is to realize that you lack nothing.

The Kingdom is within you. “Neither shall they say, lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you” Jesus tells us in Luke.

Every religion articulates this truth in a different way.

The Hindu’s say, Tat tvam asi, which means “thou are that” – you are made from the same stuff, the same substance of the Divine creator. You are already “it”. So why go out looking for divinity in everybody else but yourself?

Half of the world’s problems could be solved if we spent more time appreciating our own inner riches, rather then worshipping others for the riches we think they have.

So ask yourself, what or who is your golden calf? What external object or person do you worship or covet? Face it and then forsake it.

That’s my two cents for this week.

Love and light,




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